Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Teacher Planner

It's that time of the year when I should be relaxing, but instead, I'm thinking abut next year. Isn't that the case for everyone? :P

One of my "must have" products for every year is a Teacher Planner. They're better than a standard diary because of the planning pages. However, most of the time I find that there are pages that I have no use for and then the pages that I want are not included. So this year, I decided to take the leap and make my own planner and I think it worked out pretty well.

Here are 10 reasons why I love my new planner - and you will too!

1) It's bright and modern!

If I have to look at this every day for the year, I need it to be visually appealing. Also being bright means it is harder to lose on my desk ;)

2) It has a 'Year at a Glance'

I find this more useful than the yearly calendar as I can write in the important dates for each month rather than circling a date and then forgetting why I circled it later on.

3) Birthdays and Class List

You'd be surprised how many times you randomly need these pieces of information. Saves time as I can just flip open to these pages rather than going on the computer to search.

4) Professional Development Tracker

Won't be losing this log anytime soon! (well unless I lose my diary :P)

5) Award Tracker

This is the only tracking sheet I like to keep in my diary, this helps ensure that every student receives an award by the end of the year. I like to divide it up by school terms and by award type.

6) It is divided up into Australian school terms

I've always had to use sticky notes to divide up my diary, but not anymore because it's done for me! Also #igotthis because this should be everyone's mantra at the start of a new school year!

7) It has a term overview

This can be used for curriculum topics or important days throughout the term. I like to map out both. 

8) Weekly pages on a double page spread

This is pretty standard across all planners. I like seeing the week planned out as a whole. The notes part on the side is a great place to make a to-do list.

9) It can be used YEAR AFTER YEAR

I haven't put any dates or years in my diary. Instead, I can handwrite it in the spaces provided. 

10) It is EDITABLE

I can duplicate or remove pages when needed. I can also type in whatever I need.

I can't wait to print and bind it. I'm feeling super organised already :D

You can get your own copy from my TPT store by clicking the picture below.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Keeping Centers Under Control

Center work happens in my classroom every day. Together, my students and I have been working pretty hard on our routine since the beginning of the year. At this stage of the year, most of my students have grasped the concept of working independently. Though, there are still a few students who need extra guidance. I'm going to share my top 3 tips that have had results :)

#1 - Noise Meter
These have been around for a while but they are very effective!

Here are my two favourites;

These tools both work the same way, they use your computer's microphone to pick up on the noise level and the graphics on the screen move depending on how noisy the students are.

I have been using Calm Counter. Students must keep the arrow out of the red zone. This has been a major help in keeping the noise level down during center time. As it is real time, students are provided with instant feedback on how noisy they are. It also means that they can monitor the level themselves rather than have me tell them to work quietly. Win!

There are also apps for iPads and smartphones which can be Air Played but I have not used them yet.

#2 - Good Choices and Poor Choices Sort
 Setting up expected behaviour choices is a must. I created a 'Good Choices' and 'Poor Choices' sorting activity with behaviours I had seen. As a class, we sat down and sorted these behaviours. I then stuck them on a coloured card to make a chart that is now displayed at the front of the room during center time.

I refer to this chart when needed. "What choice were you making? what choice should you be making?"

Check this out at my TPT store by clicking here or clicking on the image below.

#3 - Clip Chart
I know this has become a 'controversial' issue but I still have a clip chart in my room. I use this as a motivational tool.

Before we start our centers, I remind students that I am looking for students who are working hard, making good choices, working quietly, sharing and trying their best. At the end of the session, I go through and praise students and move them up the chart. When praising, I make sure I give specific feedback e.g. "I like the way x, was turning the pages carefully at the reading table". By giving specific feedback, it shows the students that I am watching what they are up to even though it appears that I am busy with my group. At the end of the day, students at the top of the chart are rewarded with Dojo Points. I also make sure to emphasise that those students who didn't move up or moved down still have a chance to move up in the next session. Positivity is key!

You can check out my Clip Chart by clicking here, or by clicking on the image below.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Saturday, 5 March 2016

My Favourite Center Activities - Beginning of the Year

Centers are a big part of our day, they keep students occupied while I work with my guided groups. Carefully chosen centers allow students to work on skills taught in guided groups in a fun way.

Here are some of my favourite centers for the beginning of the year.

Make a Pizza
I have a numeral and alphabet versions. The can be found in my Beginning of the Year Centers pack.

In this activity, students make a pizza by matching the ingredients to the pizza base. This is a great way for students to consolidate their matching skills as well build familiarity with numerals and letters.

This is probably one of my most popular games. I even get requests for this game from my fast finishers :)

Clip A Word
Click here to find it on TPT.

In this activity, students pick a card and use pegs to 'clip' the letters that match. This helps with fine motor and letter recognition.

Number Tracing
Click here to find it on TPT.

In this activity, students trace over the numerals with a whiteboard marker. I love this activity because I feel that we spend a lot of time emphasising letter formation that we forget about numeral formation. So working on our numeral formation during guided maths groups is a great way to slip it into our daily routine.

Matching Trains

For this activity, you can use these ten frame trains and unifix cubes. Alternatively, you can use a printed ten frame or an egg carton.

Students match the unifix cubes by colour to create 'passengers' for the train.

Duplo Letters and Numbers
The number cards can be found here and letters can be found here.

These have been a huge hit with my students. They love showing me the letters/numerals that they make :)

ChickaBoom Tweeze

This awesome mat can be found here, from My Fabulous Class.

In this activity, students use tweezers to pick letters and see if it matches the letters on their board. Once again a great activity for matching, fine motor and letter recognition.

Pipe Cleaner Letters and Numbers

In this activity, students use pipe cleaners to make letter and numbers. This activity helps students develop strength in their fingers through manipulating the pipe cleaner.

Pegboard Numbers

These pegboard cards can be found here.

Students use the pins to copy the number onto the pegboard.


This is a simple activity that works with anything. All you need is a sorting tray and some tweezers. Students use tweezers to put the objects into groups. Students can sort by colour, shape, size, etc.

Hopefully you have found some inspiration on here. Got any ideas to share? Let me know through email or comment below :)

Enjoy your weekend!